OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

One story that skipped through our filters last week and never quite made it into Faultline was the sale of Technicolor’s IPR assets to InterDigital, which itself has larger patent royalties than any other revenue stream. InterDigital paid $150 million upfront in a deal that values the patents at $475 million and it allows Technicolor to focus on its operational businesses. It will keep on doing R&D, but also pay InterDigital for individual funded research projects to the tune of at least $5 million a year. All the patents will continue to be granted back to Technicolor.

News Corp and Telstra in Australia reached a deal whereby Foxtel and Fox Sports will merge leaving News Corp with a 65% stake in the combined businesses.

Northern Sky Research says that the China Aerospace Science and Technology has announced plans to build a constellation of 300 small Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites for communications. The name translates to Wild Geese and should  be operational by 2021. This is an upgraded plan from a 60 satellite network. LEOs remain stationary relative to each other, while the earth spins beneath them and this creates a moving global grid. Iridium is the first example of such a network, which went bankrupt two years after Motorola created it in 1997, although the satellites remain in service to this day.

TV measurement firm TVSquared says it will partner with LiveRamp, an Acxiom company on audience-driven TV attribution. The two will provide insights into TV performance so that advertisers can understand who is responding to TV advertising and optimize spend for targeted audiences.

The two will use the TV Squared ADvantage platform with LiveRamp’s IdentityLink.

Comcast this week said that it will launched a 1 Gbps residential and business broadband service using DOCSIS 3.1 throughout the Greater Houston area and users will also be able to access Comcast’s 18 million hotspots. It will costs $160 without a contract and there is a special at $90 a month, for a one-year agreement.

Zone TV said this week it has a new nature-focused online subscription VoD service called Lion Mountain TV, and this is now available on Comcast‘s Xfinity X1 platform.

US encoding firm Harmonic said this week that the TV Today Network, a news channel in India, has deployed its contribution and distribution encoders for DVB-S2 digital satellite newsgathering.

US ISP Wide Open West said that its’ 1 Gbps broadband service now reaches 95% of it physical footprint and says it’s the first US ISP to achieve this. It has just added 9 markets in Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston, South Carolina and Pinellas, Florida.

Japanese consumer electronics firm Sharp and TiVo have extended their IPG deal for software to power content discovery across all of Sharp’s entertainment devices. The TiVo’s G-Guide HTML will work across Sharp 4K smart TVs and Ultra HD Blu-ray recorders in Japan and enable remote scheduling on its Blu-ray recorders.

Thinkbox, the UK research company for TV advertising says that UK advertising will return to growth during 2018 after a drop in revenues of 3.2% during 2017. It also said that online businesses were the biggest investors in TV advertising, and that there were 785 new or returning advertisers on TV during 2017. It highlights Procter & Gamble as the most viewed TV advertiser with 33.5 billion views, followed by Sky, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser. TV advertising revenue in the UK was £5.11 billion in 2017.

Broadband TV News says that the French commercial network TF1 has resumed on Canal Plus’ DTH network due to an intervention by regulator CSA. Canal pulled the plug on TF1 after failing to conclude a new carriage deal with transmission fees for the first time. Most pay TV operators want to actually charge TF1 for carriage, rather than the other way around.

Also last week we failed to find space for the deal between Akamai and Eurofins Digital Testing, which have agreed the latter’s tools will be used to test and measure video QoE for Akamai customers – one of Eurofins’ biggest deals to date.

Research from Hub Entertainment suggests that most US consumers need to subscribe to 3 or 4 OTT service before they can justify cutting the cord. Hub found that 40% of viewers who subscribe to one OTT service say their entertainment needs are well met, while 47% of those subscribing to two services say the same. When viewers subscribe to three services, 51% say their entertainment needs are well met, and 62% of those subscribing to four or more services say the same.

It turns out that Amazon has acquired Irish cloud gaming services firm GameSparks for $10 million and will use it to offer a wider variety of services to game developers. The deal followed the deal Microsoft Azure did last July to acquire similar firm PlayFab.  Amazon can now offer services to game developers for game tuning an A/B testing prior to release.

US cable firm Comcast and the National Public Radio (NPR) today announced the launch of the NPR One app on Xfinity X1, giving access NPR’s library of news, talk and music programs and it has been already integrated into the Comcast voice remote.

comScore this week said that data science firm Civis Analytics will extend its licensing of comScore viewership data. Civis uses this data to create custom audiences, which go beyond traditional age and gender demographics, to offer its commercial, political and non-profit clients greater targeting capabilities for TV campaigns.

Augmented reality specialist Magic Leap is at it again, raising $461 million from the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This makes the latest round about $963 million and total funding some $2.3 billion. Magic Leap has been in stealth for some years but launched its first Mixed Reality glasses for developers a few months ago. Magic Leap is understood to have around 1,500 employees.